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December 1960

Water Witching, U.S.A.

Arch Intern Med. 1960;106(6):903-904. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03820060155032

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The capacity to live in a world of illusion is not confined to the hordes of schizophrenic patients who inhabit custodial retreats for the mentally ill. A lesser, though potentially no less dangerous form of self-deception pervades mankind with inveterate ubiquity. Indeed the capacity of the human mind to deceive itself knows no limits. Who will say whether this is a built-in mechanism to make life tolerable by keeping distasteful reality from shattering all illusions or whether, like the potentiality for cancer in every living creature, it is a destructive element written into the very essence of life. Should we look back with cynical disparagement at the shocking excesses of the dancing mania of the Middle Ages when we ourselves have been devotees of such lesser models as the Charleston or the hula hoop? A nation which is addicted to such silly foibles as the folksy Vermont humbug of "Huniger,"

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